#TheYearThatWas: the 2021 art journal was dedicated to NFTs and auctions

New Delhi

From all the buzz surrounding non-fungible tokens (NFTs) at record auction in a world still reeling from the pandemic, the visual arts industry has seen many eventful lows and highs, during the year 2021. Continue its efforts to succeed in a hybrid format, those in the art world are now eagerly awaiting to survive in the new normal, and here we give you a look at everything that made 2021 the year it was. .

Record makers, record breakers

Untitled by VS Gaitonde (1961) has become the best-selling Indian artwork at auction worldwide. (Photo: Saffronart)

The art of Indian artist VS Gaitonde is familiar for making world records. And this year, too, a 1961 masterpiece by the late abstract artist set a world record when it was sold for ??39.98 crore ($ 5.5 million) at an auction by Saffronart this year. The Untitled oil on canvas also marked the highest price ever for an Indian artwork at auction worldwide.

Shortly after, Indo-Hungarian artist Amrita Sher-Gil’s 1938 work, In the Ladies’ Enclosure, won second place for the most expensive Indian artwork sold in the world. This marked another world record in the year, going for ??37.8 crore or (5.14 million USD) at auction. It is also Sher-Gil’s most cherished work of art.

The third time is the charm

Anglo-Indian artist Anish Kapoor has always been at the top of the list of Indian Hurun artists. 2021 is the third time he has done it, once again!

For the third time, Hurun India Art List 2021 named UK-based Indian-born artist Anish Kapoor at the top of its list. The sculptor who made ??20.64 crore, by selling 65 works of art the previous year, secured its spot at number one. After him was the veteran Indian Modernist painter of the NCR Krishen Khanna, whose works sold for a total of ??9 crore, in second place in the list. And Delhi-based artist Rameshwar Broota took third place, in the same list, with just under ??9 crore for his work.

Love is in the trash

Banksy’s work entitled Love Is In The Bin, sold for a record price at an auction in 2021 (Photo: Sotheby’s)

The mysterious British street artist Banksy never shies away from making the news. And this year, his work Love is in the Bin reappeared, three years after the painting was famously shredded in the Sotheby’s auction room in London. After selling for a record $ 25.4 million, her original avatar was called Girl With Balloon, and left viewers around the world stunned when he was driven to self-destruct with a shredder intentionally. placed during the auction, which stopped halfway, and so came the rebirth of this work!

For the love of Frida Kahlo

In 2021, a painting by Frida Kalho broke the record for a Latin American work of art sold at such a high price. (Photo: Sotheby’s)

In 2021, the enigmatic self-portrait of the late Mexican painter Frida Kahlo titled Diego y yo (which translates to Diego and me) sold for $ 34.9 million. He reappeared at a post-1990 auction, shattering Kahlo’s previous record of $ 8 million. The painting also set a world record for a Latin American work of art, as the artist took the crown from the last record holder, who was her husband, Diego Rivera. Interestingly, this painting also features Diego.

NFT scores big

Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5000 Days sold for $ 69 million at an auction in 2021, becoming the best-selling NFT of all time.

Any discussion of 2021 is incomplete without a mention of the NFT art. The year started off with a bang, as the sale of artist Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5000 Days raised $ 69 million, becoming a turning point for digital artists around the world and even in India. This “first pure digital artwork based on NFT” was sold at Christie’s and set a new world record for any digital artwork.

In India, a first for an Indian actor, Vishal Malhotra sold an NFT for $ 5,500, and Indian celebrities including actors Amitabh Bachchan, Sunny Leone, Salman Khan, Kamal Haasan, and fashion designer Raghavendra Rathore and the Cricketer Rishabh Pant have announced their NFTs. . Young digital creators in India have also started exploiting NFT art and selling wholesale. Take, for example, Big B’s coveted Madhushala NFT collection of autographed poems and posters, which earned a ??7 crore deal when it went under the hammer in November.

Vandalism, an expression

The public statue of feminist philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft was vandalized with orange paint in London this year.

Earlier this year, a public statue erected in London – in honor of 18th century feminist philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft – sparked backlash and degraded with orange graffiti paint, even after several attempts to save the statue by covering it. Sculpted by British artist Maggi Hambling, it depicts a stripped Wollstonecraft, presented as the mother of feminism.

The souls we have lost

Art curator, critic and popular figure in the Indian cultural circuit, Alka Raghuvanshi died at the age of 60 in May this year. She left a lot of mourning and memories of her panache for art and textiles. The Indian art world has also lost artist Yogesh Rawal, 67, who succumbed to Covid-19 in a hospital in Gurugram. Goan artist and Padma Bhushan award recipient Laxman Pai, 95, also died in March, leaving a void in Goan art.

Author’s tweets @siddhijainn

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Christopher S. Washington